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Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / London Hotels / Conrad Hotels / Westminster Hotels / Election Hotels / → All Tags
An all-party cocktail coalition
Royal Baby fever is over in the UK; it’s the General Election today, the most confusing and closely contested political battle in recent history. If you have any about being told how to vote (possibly more irritating: the “I don’t care who you vote for, just vote!!!” martyrs), we suggest you stay off Facebook today, and make instead for the Conrad London St James, where the Blue Boar bar (yes, the one that just gave champagne away in a fit of #royalbabyfever) is mixing up political cocktails all night long.
The Blue Boar is, of course, a popular bar with MPs, what with being right around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. Luckily, they’ll all be in their constituencies tonight, so it’s safe to go down for the election party.
The rooms, lap pool, reception, rooftop bar – everywhere we turned at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills there were pretty stellar views of the Japanese capital, so much so that it won our award for best killer view last year, just six months after it opened (and we walked through the front door). As fresh and sprightly as it may be, the hotel has already made some changes to the highest point from which to enjoy those views: the rooftop bar.
Above what you will find today on the open air terrace, which is a major difference with what we saw last year – and we think it’s for the better. Where previously you had a set of standing tables, a few groups of chairs nearer the windows, and some beach-y furniture (scroll down for an impression), there are now much better defined seating areas in a stylish mix of dark wood and cream, with warmer lighting.
One concept that’s huge in Rome: the aperitivo hour, between around 5-8pm, when bars serve platters of free food (sfizi) alongside spritzes and proseccos.
One concept that’s not huge in Rome: the hotel bar. Why go to a boring hotel bar when you could sit with the beautiful people in Piazza di Pietra?
But when in Rome, you don’t always have to, you know – at least not at the Hotel Corner, slightly out of the centre, between the Circus Maximus and Piramide.
We do not have to tell fans of Game of Thrones that season five is hitting HBO this weekend, but we did figure it was worth mentioning that the Iron Throne is now a real thing ready for your visit.
The throne is made of around 1,000 pounds of ice, and apparently it’s even better than the ice we get here in the nifty fifty—this stuff is 100% pure Canadian ice. Of course photo opportunities are available, and visitors can even choose from white or black fur jackets that fit right in with those who would be considered royal citizens of the Seven Kingdoms.
Hotel Bars / Hotel Cocktails / Glasgow Hotels / Scotland Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel Drinks / Town House Company Hotels / → All Tags
About a year ago the barkeeps at Glasgow’s Blythswood Square hotel (part of The Town House Collection) had the brainiac idea to house a whisky Bottle Keep in The Salon for locals and guests who visit the bar on a regular basis. The set-up is super simple: Buy a bottle at the bar, ranging in price from 135 GBP to 2,500 GBP, store your golden liquid in the hotel’s Bottle Keep, and drinks will appear upon request.
With your purchase you get a session with a skilled bartender who will tell you the proper way to drink your purchase – for example, who knew that Johnny Walker Blue Label (250 GBP) is properly served with shaved ice and water? – or the mixologist will create a signature cocktail tailored just for you, preferably made with your newly-purchased Haig Club whisky (135 GBP).
Why this whisky, you may ask? One reason is that one of the owners is – still-hunky after all these years – David Beckham, but perhaps the more-important reason is that this whisky, only launched a few months ago, is lighter and less sweet than your standard Scotch.
In other words, it’s made specifically for the cocktail lover. This recipe is stored with your bottle and you can partake of it whenever you’re in a cocktail mood.
If, however, whiskies are not your thing, don’t despair. The Salon has a wide array of delicious cocktails on offer, and all can be found in the recently-begotten Bar Book. Already in its third installment since the hotel opened in 2009, the book is a collection of cocktails unique to the hotel along with some classics that have withstood cocktail culture’s test of time.
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Right around this time last year, we saw first-hand what happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same London hotel bar: a double feature of Confessions of a Hotel Bartender and six specially-selected cocktails to drink your way through.
The bar at The Connaught, where all of this went down, was packed during Colin Field’s week long residence in Agostino Perrone’s home, but it almost always is. Luckily, there is now this: the Champagne Room at the Connaught Bar – a small, secluded drinking spot accessible either through an internal passageway from the main bar or through a set of heavy curtains off of a quiet corridor behind the lobby.
Hotel Pop-Ups / Hotel Bars / Belmond Hotels / Venice Hotels / Giudecca Hotels / Paris Hotels / Train Hotels / → All Tags
Walter Bolzonella at the Cipriani
Having a drink in one iconic hotel is good enough. Having a drink in one iconic hotel that’s mixed by the staff from another iconic hotel – even better. Having a drink from one iconic hotel that’s made by the staff of another iconic hotel while on the most iconic train on the planet? We need a drink. Preferably one made by the Ritz Paris bartenders, but made at the Belmond Cipriani in Venice, or served on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
In a collaboration between the two hotels and the famous train, the head bartenders of the Ritz Paris (Colin Field - who, of course, is currently homeless, since the hotel is closed, and is going around the world staging pop-ups) and the Cipriani (Walter Bolzonella) will run a pop-up bar at the Cip from 9-15 April.
But wait! It gets better than that.
Who knew that drinking alcohol could be good for you? When you show up for a cocktail at The Drawing Room in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, have a chat with the apothékers (A.K.A. bartenders) and tell them what ails you. They’ll whip up a medicinal concoction full of herbs and other goodness and then write you a prescription in case you need a refill.
Run by famous (and a wee bit infamous) Austrian-born bar chef Albert Trummer, formerly of NYC's Apothéke and the Theater Bar, The Drawing Room has only been open since October 2014.
Using his knowledge of all things botanical (Albert is also a trained chef), he’s created a series of ten house elixirs using recipes he’s collected from monks and monasteries throughout Europe. These elixirs (not all are available at all times as it depends on seasonality and availability) are used to create his and his team’s Prescription Cocktails. If you plan it right you can bring yourself up at the start of the evening and then back down at its close.
Hotel Service Charges / Hotel Service / Snapshot / London Hotels / Belgravia Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Bars / → All Tags
Service charges – a topic that’s been in our minds on HC recently. The ethics of room service charges got us all wound up the other week, but what about normal service charges – the type that get added automatically to your bill, before you can say whether or not you wanted to leave a tip?
Automatic gratuities are becoming the norm in London now, with 12.5% the normal whack (apart from our funny little friends at Belgraves who automatically add 15%, thank you very much). For reference, 10% is what one would normally tip in London.
But here is the genteel way to present your service charge:
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Koreatown Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
One of the things we most like about the Downtown LA renaissance is the redevelopment of old buildings into sexy modern hotels (unless, that is, you’re talking about the Fig, which we cannot conscience in anything but its old, Moroccan incarnation).
The Hotel Normandie was already pretty sexy – a Renaissance Revival-style building done 1920s by Walker & Eisen, who also did the Beverly Wilshire and the United Artists Theater (aka the Ace DTLA), and now a 94-room boutique hotel (although with the old style preserved rather than gutted).
But now it’s stepped up the ante with some food and drink offerings that, rather like the hotel, combine the best of old and new LA.
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Last time we checked in on Brussels, we were all about the beer bar at the new Zoom Hotel in Ixelles (up the hill from the medieval bit, but where all
we the cool kids go). 50 Belgian beers, selected by a top Belgian sommelier? Oui, s’il vous plait.
So obviously, when we were in Brussels last week, there was only one place we were going to stay. More on the hotel another time, but for now, here is the beer bar.
Yeah, it’s not what we were expecting either. Discreet. Grown up. Who knew boozing could be like this?
Hotels reaching out beyond their walls – this could be a thing. Hot (literally) on the heels of the James NYC turning its outside wall into a mural, the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, DC, has opened a new bar – on the street.
The pop-up “snow bar” is to warm you up as you pass through the snowy city, with cocktails created by the hotel’s mixologists. Hot cocktails, of course – they’ve invented one called the Nutty Van Gogh, which takes Nutella-brewed hot chocolate and adds Frangelico and caramel Van Gogh vodka. Too sweet? Try a coffee infused with Bailey’s or Kahlua. Too sickly? Go old school with some mulled wine.